Could your parents use some work? Years ago I had a friend stay with me for a few months in my DC home. He moved to the area because he and his girlfriend were taking their relationship to the next level. He wanted to be close so they could spend more time together growing as a couple and she worked in the DC area. As their relationship progressed, it was important to them that they involve her father in the process. The problem was that she didn’t have the best relationship with her dad. He hadn’t been the best role model for her, was rarely present and they didn’t share the same values.
My friend’s girlfriend wasn’t sure how it would all turn out, but they agreed together to involve him in their relationship. He reported, “When we set to honor her dad by including him in our relationship, at first he was very abrasive, but in the long run, it was extremely healing for both.” Not only did their relationship improve, but the demand on him to step into this role pulled the best out of him and helped him become a better father. Now this couple is married with kids and they enjoy a fulfilling relationship with her father.
I’m noticing – even as a young parent – when my need for honor is met, it pulls the best out of me. When my daughter asks me questions about God and relationships and her heart is wide-open to learn from me, I get serious about what I say. I don’t take it lightly. I know that my words are shaping the belief system of another person. It’s a big responsibility. Many times I have to analyze my own motives and beliefs to make sure I’m giving the best response.
I think this is a universal response of healthy parenting. While dishonor may cause a wounded parent to exert control and irrational behavior toward a child, honor will often cause them to take a new posture. When a child communicates that they value their parents and they want to learn from them and have their input into their lives, parents will rise to the challenge. They’ll start weighing their own motivations and thought processes, searching for jewels of wisdom to pull from their own journey. Dishonor may cause parents to live defensively about the choices they’ve made, but honor will cause them to examine their choices and help their children make better ones (tweet this). When the relationship is no longer about parents fishing for their own need of honor to be met – when they are secure that they are valued – the weight of that position will drive them to be the best parents (role-models, advisers, confidants) they can be.
In what ways could your parents be better? How do you think honor could help?